Alinghi's sails 'illegal' says Coutts
Monday 18 January 2010
New Zealander Russell Coutts, the skipper of Oracle, claimed today that Swiss defender Alinghi is using "illegal" sails on its catamaran that is to face the US challenger in next month's America's Cup duel.
Coutts said he was is prepared to give Alinghi "several weeks" to change the sails if the Supreme Court of the State of New York rules in its favour on the issue.
Oracle last week asked the court to rule on whether Alinghi had infringed the competition's nationality rules by allegedly using US-made sails for its yacht.
Alinghi has said the sails are made in Switzerland.
But Coutts told AFP in a telephone interview that they were "molded and constructed" in the US state of Nevada.
The two bitter rivals are due to face off in a best-of-three event from February 8 in the Spanish port of Valencia to decide the 33rd edition of yachting's premier event.
If the New York court does not make a decision before then, the Americans said they would take part in the competition under protest, and the result could be overturned, Coutts said.
Oracle and Alinghi - owned respectively by billionaires Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli - have been arguing over the rules of the America's Cup in court since the Swiss syndicate won the last America's Cup in Valencia in 2007.
The New York Supreme Court ruled in April that the Cup should be settled by a one-on-one multihull duel between the two sides next February instead of the traditional fully-fledged regatta involving several teams.
Under the Deed of Gift, the 19th-century rules that govern the oldest competition in international sport, the participating vessels must be constructed in the country where the sailing club which they represent is located, which in Alinghi's case is Switzerland.
The two sides failed to reach an agreement on their latest dispute in talks in Singapore last week.
Coutts insisted it was the Swiss team which refused to sign a deal.
"At the last moment they told us, no we cannot sign this agreement..," which would have "settled all the outstanding questions," canceled all outstanding legal actions over the Cup and postponed the competition by one month until March 8.
Alinghi on Sunday said Oracle's "representatives clearly bear the substantial responsibility of the negotiations' failure."
Bertarelli said on Friday that the sails were made in Villeneuve, Switzerland.
"Should the American justice system outlaw their use, it would be like asking Roger Federer to defend his title without using his tennis racket. Oracle would win the America's Cup in court as, without our sails, we cannot race," he said.
Coutts responded Sunday by saying "Federer does not go to Wimbledon with illegal racquets".
Oracle's giant trimaran - which has a 50-metre fixed-wing sail - is to begin training on Tuesday off Valencia, where Alinghi's catamaran took the water this weekend.
Sourced from: The New Zealand Herald/AFP
Latest in Sport
Royal Rumble 2015: Roman Reigns triumphs after The Rock returns to set-up Wrestlemania showdown with Brock Lesnar
Google trolls Tottenham with Oxford dictionary definition of 'lackadaisical'
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Floyd Mayweather ends the carnival this week and picks his next fight - but will it be Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now